Young people are being urged to “Speak Out” if they feel unsafe, as latest figures reveal 193 car occupants aged 16 to 24, have been killed or seriously injured on Kent’s roads in the past three years.
This month, Kent County Council’s road safety team launched the Speak Out campaign, aimed at giving young people the confidence to voice their concerns.
Research shows that many 16 to 24-year-olds in the passenger seat would rather keep quiet and not tell the driver to be careful, even when they feel unsafe or uncomfortable by the way they are being driven.
Kent County Council Road Safety Team Leader Vicky Harvey said: “For those who are passengers of young drivers, I encourage you to look carefully at the person in the driving seat.
“Before closing your door, ask yourself: ‘do I want to give this person my safety?’ because as soon as you shut that door, the driver has complete control of what they choose to do next.
“More young drivers are becoming aware that their passengers don’t enjoy reckless driving and that those who drive badly are viewed by their passengers as poor and potentially lethal drivers.”
The month-long campaign highlights the serious implications and risks of not speaking out.
It aims to raise awareness about driver fatigue, mobile phone usage, how music can affect moods of drivers and how young drivers are easily distracted by their passengers.
KCC cabinet member for transport Matthew Balfour said: “This campaign is now in its seventh year and aims to change the behaviour of those too nervous to speak out when a driver makes them feel uncomfortable.
“We did a study recently which showed 77% of young people found that the campaign either reinforced or encouraged them to say something, which leads to safer roads in Kent.”